It's beginning to look a lot like home now!

Sing that title to the tune of "It's beginning to look a lot like Christmas" and you'll know how I've been feeling. Especially since they told us we'd be back in the house by Christmas ;)
Here is the bathroom...you can see a bit of the tile floor Allan laid and in the mirror you can see the shower. I LOVE the beadboard!
Honestly, this part is the biggest change. It looked like such a construction zone, so my wonderful husband put our cabinets up and cleaned the bathroom and I put up the towels, (the green matches our walls perfectly and the best part? I got them for FREE at Kohl's!!) We want to switch the knobs out to brushed nickel on the cabinets.

Here is Violet's room, and she FINALLY uses it! She's been in her own room for several months now, but this is the first time it really looks like a bedroom! Rhiya's bed is in there, too, because she has decided the last couple of times she's been here she doesn't like being in her own little house in the yard. We'll see if she stays there. Since we're having a boy, though, this room will become his. Violet and GraceAnne will share a room then. I'm hoping we can keep him in our room at least 6 months so that Violet will be 2 and maybe not so excited to put tiny My Little Pony toys down her throat.
Here is the toyroom. It's not organized yet, but you get the gist. The walls are a pretty pale green and the ceiling is a pretty pale blue. Our goal in this room is to get a cool fan we found at Home Depot, (it has an earth on the globe part) and some baskets to put the toys in. My computer will eventually be in there, too, since the kids seem to only want to be where I am!
Here is the stairwell. I couldn't find the before pictures because my husband likes to put the old pictures, (read: 4 months old) on the external drive. Trust me when I say this is 100% better. Actually...this is about 215% better than it was! It was SOO ugly and now it's actually a focal point to not be embarrassed by.
Here is our library. Please excuse the mess, I've been working on some garage sale stuff. We sit on that couch and watch movies over here:
in the movie room! Allan brought my chair in so they could sit in something comfy while they play the Wii. I really love how everything is coming together to make this place a home. It was driving me nuts.
And THIS!!!!! This is the biggest deal of all. Yes, it's a ratty OLD table, but it's our diningroom table and it's in our diningroom! How novel, eh? This room has always been my favorite because of those STUNNING stripes that my husband loathes me for making him paint, (incidentally, the neighbor has commissioned him to paint TWO rooms in stripes for him, HAHA!), and the fact that this is where we gather to praise God, share our days with each other, relax and EAT. We haven't eaten a REAL family meal together in our house since last October. The last two nights we've gathered here, praying, eating and enjoying each other's company. It has done so much to improve my spirits. Eventually there will be artwork on those walls, (we're working on one wall of wraught iron crosses), and a rug on the floor and a nice table, but for now it's fabulous. I still can't wait to have it all done, but for now I'm relishing in the fact that God gave us exactly what we asked for--floors the kids could play on and to be able to live in the WHOLE house! He is so awesome :)
Hope you enjoyed a small tour of our home and hope you're doing well. We love and miss you!


A few pix.

Because the video wouldn't work, here is a picture of Allan in the wave machine. He got to surf and it was a MAJOR work out. Today he started the actual work part of his residency. He likes it. He already knows the guys because he's been volunteering at the VA for the last 3 years and he even had a rotation there last semester. They're very comfortable with him and happy he's there.

She's slightly crazy. After being in San Antonio for 2 weeks and not having her carseat or riding in a vehicle with no air conditioning she said to me, "Mom...I LOVE riding in your car now."
Funny because she used to tell me everyday how much she hated my car. I guess some things rub off on the kids, eh? Nothing like being unable to just get up and take off to make you realize that some things truly are blessings. Like piece o crap 1996 Olds cutlasses. Haha.

I made berry parfaits for dinner/dessert tonight. It's been up over 100 degrees here the last week or so and we're doing anything to beat the heat. Violet was OBVIOUSLY a fan of the parfait.

She likes to play with her food when she's bored of it.
I met with a new Dr today to see if I liked him. I like him mostly but there are a couple child birthing issues we need to come to agreement on in the next 5 months. He did seem more concerned than my midwives, which was a big plus. He did an ultrasound in office and told me the big shadow I saw was probably a hemmorage, which is pretty typical, (we had one with Vi, too), and that it was mostly healed up now, so no worries. We're also fairly sure this is a boy. Wow. What do I do with one of those?!? I think Allan is thrilled but when I told him he said, "okay, cool." Haha. GraceAnne has been calling it a boy from the very second she found out we were having a baby. Today, however, she decided she wants another baby sister. But why the change of heart?? She saw the ultrasound picture of the baby's face. She said it is creepy and she doesn't want a baby boy if it looks like that. She flipped her lid. I tried to explain to her that a sonogram can't photograph skin, but she still seems unsure. When I told her that her picture looked creepy and so did Violet's she got quiet for a few minutes. Then out of the blue yelled at me, "WHY DIDN'T YOU LIKE ME WHEN I WAS A BABY IN YOUR BELLY!?" WOW...so mature but so simple! She never ceases to amaze me.
Hope you're all doing well. We love and miss you.


Prayers, please

I want to preface this post by saying that I realize how truly Blessed I am. BUT!! I have a few things I would appreciate my loved ones to be praying about for us. Things have been pretty rough for me mentally the last couple of months and it's definitely leaking into my social life. I pretty much hide and I really want to be with people, I'm just a huge grump and I don't feel like anyone would really want to be around me right now, so be patient, please. I don't deal with hormones well and it feels like things are really piling up on me. Alright, let me list out now why you NEVER pray for patience or humility...

1. I've been having some trouble with my extended family. I won't go into detail on that, but it's been very emotionally taxing for me and I'm not sure how to proceed. Some really not-so-great things were said and brought to my attention and I'm left wondering.

2. We found out a month ago that as of July 1st, we're losing half of our income. We know how to survive on this kind of income, we've done it before, but we were planning on having a year before this happened to pad our savings accounts. Please pray we can still manage to save what we need to, (insurances, plane tickets, kids school clothes all add up and we typically save for those things monthly so they won't be a huge tax on us when they come. We hope to be able to keep up our momentum if we just cut our monthly budget down)

3. I can't go to National Convention for PC in Chicago. We just can't work that into our new budget and I should have been saving all along, but even if I were I probably would not go. We need to put that money in a car fund now that we can't get a van. Need to make sure my car lasts a GOOD long time. I have absolutely no motivation to continue my business and I could sure use some. It'd go a long way toward helping us save.

4. 2 weeks ago I found out the neighbor's granddaughter has Fifth's disease. I was tested and I'm not immune to it. Incubation is up to 28 days, so they're not sure if I have it or not. This is a totally normal and just-fine childhood disease but it's VERY bad for pregnant women. It can cause miscarriage and severe anemia, (resulting in heart failure and brain damage in the baby).

5. I was in the ER in San Antonio due to cervical pain and contractions last week. When they did an ultrasound I saw a large "shadow" in the sac with the baby. They didn't look into it any further because they were only looking for a heart beat. When I told my midwife she basically told me she was unconcerned and we wouldn't get another ultrasound until 18 weeks. When I told her Tricare wouldn't pay for it unless she deemed it medically necessary she said, "I don't know what to tell you then."

6. Due to 5 and the other midwife telling me she'd be more concerned with my kids getting Fifth's disease than me, we're looking into switching prenatal care providers. The only other people in my area that Tricare will pay for are OB's. Which means birthing in a hospital...which I've avoided at all costs thanks to my paralyzing fear of needles and hospitals. I'm terrified of what this means for me. I'm looking into a doula and some hypno-birthing classes, but with our income being cut like it is, I'm praying Tricare will help us pay for some of this, (not likely, but we can pray.)

7. Thanks to my hormones I've pretty much alienated everyone I care about. This is probably my biggest problem. I pray they can still keep loving me when I'm being hard-headed and feeling so blue. I still need you.

8. The contractors are STILL here and we're severely unhappy with the work that's being done. There's not much we can do since it's free, (of course that's a huge Blessing), but it's frustrating seeing them mess things up even though they're getting paid. We feel like we're stuck between a rock and hard place and Allan is getting VERY frustrated that he'll have to fix everything when they leave.

That's enough, I'm having trouble typing this out. I'm completely sick of myself and I'm sorry for whining. I could sure use prayers of peace while we wait for His will to show itself. Thanks.


Oh, Happy Day!

Well, Happy Father's Day to all the Daddies out there. Allan--my wonderful, beautiful husband, this section is for you: Thank you for being the absolute best dad I could ever have imagined for my children. Thank you for wading through the muck with me and deciding when we came out that we were still good enough to plan 2 more. Thank you for believing in me as a mother and trusting me with our sweet babies. Thanks for giving me these babies! Thank you MOSTLY, though, for leading them with a Godly spirit. I pray The Lord continues to move you forward in your quest to be a Godly parent and that He Blesses you every step along the way. We are all so well Blessed for your walk!

Allan--my wonderful, beautiful husband, this section is ALSO for you: Happy 3rd wedding anniversary. Words cannot express how glad I am to be your wife. Sometimes I'm embarrassed at the short amount of time we've been married compared to the amount of time we've actually played house, but ultimately I know our timing was right. God has so Blessed our marriage and I'm not sure we'd have come as far as we have had we not dealt with so many of our issues before we decided to "tie the knot." I remember our wedding and how beautiful and perfect it was. I remember how much fun we had on our honeymoon and I feel incredibly Blessed that we still have so much fun together. I am looking forward to many more years of having beautiful and perfect moments drenched in tons of fun! I can't wait to see all the joys and wonders God has in store for us. Thank you for everything you do.


Greetings from The Alamo!

Not really the Alamo...we haven't done anything touristy since we've been here, but we have done some other cool stuff. The people we're staying with are really good friends of ours, (okay, so only the wives started off as friends...the husbands just happen to like each other, Praise God!) and we've had a lot of fun with them. Between us we have 5 children ages 5, 3.5, 2.5, 1 and 5 mo. It's been interesting with them! For the most part they get along well and have been having a good time. Last night we stayed at the Fisher House on post to give them all a break from having house guests. It was the plan from the beginning but it was kinda sad to say goodbye last night. We'll be there again in a few hours.
We got to see some of our friends from Ft Hood. It was so great to visit with them and I hope we get to see them again soon!
GraceAnne celebrated her 5th birthday at our friends' house. Everyone enjoyed the beautiful cake that Jeanie stayed up until 4am to make! It was TAAAAAY STEEEE!
She was super thrilled with her rainbow 5.

I don't have much time to post, but I wanted to drop off some pictures. I'm HOPING to leave you with a video, but we'll see if it works. Allan has had his butt thoroughly kicked this last week and a half. He's having a blast. Here is some of what they've had him doing...it doesn't look like hard work, but it is.

**didn't work, try again later**

Another prayer request from us--does it ever end??--we found out the neighbor's little girl has Fifth's disease which is a totally typical and just-fine disease for kids, but not so much for pregnant women. It can cause miscarriage or severe anemia (leading to heart failure), in the baby. I don't remember ever having had it as a kid, (it's like chicken pox....you're not supposed to get it again), but 80% of adults are immune. They took my blood last week to see if I have the immunity. If I don't they'll check to see if I have the disease. Praying for immunity!!

Hope you all are having a great week and I hope you are all as Blessed with fabulous friends as we are!


One more for the road...

We are leaving for San Antonio on Sunday. I doubt I'll be able to post anything between now and then, so I'll leave you with some pictures. We'll be there for 2 weeks because Allan is getting a new running leg made and will be going through some physical therapy and training. This will be the first time in a long time he will be the patient instead of the student/apprentice/prosthetist. He's looking forward to it. The Intrepid Center at BAMC is one of the best in the nation.

Above is a picture of GraceAnne on our swingset. She will NOT play outside unless someone is out there with her. This is a far cry from a year ago when she would run outside and play alone for an hour before I had to call her in for lunch. I hate to see how clingy they both get when the new baby shows up.
Violet is going to be the one who will be begging to mow the lawn and use the chainsaw. In this picture she was about 15 feet away from Allan using the chainsaw on a massive tree branch he cut down. She didn't flinch for a second. Obviously you can tell she's cool as a cucumber and curious as a ferret.

Yes...big sister has an adorable grin, but look at little sister behind her...today she showed off the skills she's been trying to master for the last several months--she can fully climb the slide. She holds onto the rails at the top, says, "UH-OH" and then slides down yelling, "WEEEE!"

Here's the new system Allan created for my duckies. It's called a Skippy's BioFilter and you can't tell because the bottom is dirty, but that thing has really cleaned the pond up. It doesn't smell like raw sewage anymore. I used to have to bail it out by hand every 3 days and clean the pool and refill it. Now the filter takes care of it for me. After a couple weeks bacteria will build up in the filter and eat the duck dirt and turn it into sand. This is a very effective system and I'm quite impressed. I'll post the final results when we get back from San Antonio. We should have the proper bacteria built up by that point. Eventually we'll build a bigger pond and hide the filter behind a waterfall, but for now they're happy.

Here is the beadboard in the bathroom. We still have a long way to go upstairs because the trim guys are waiting on more money from the Coalition, but it's getting there. The downstairs looks superb!
This is her favorite spot to sit. That wall/shelf used to be behind a huge pantry type cabinet. When we started fooling around with the kitchen it was the first thing to go, (you can see the floor is cut out where it used to be...we haven't been able to patch that yet.). There is a really old chimney behind that wall because the original owners had a pipe stove. Allan covered it up and built me those shelves for my cookbooks, (you can't see the shelves, they're above her head), because I collect them and have about 100. We were going to make a spice rack to go where she's sitting but haven't gotten around to it yet. For now it makes a great seat for little ones!

GraceAnne showing off one of her birthday outfits, her new earrings and her pretty hair.

There should be no doubt in anyone's mind that he is her FAVORITE person on this whole planet. The sun rises and sets in Daddy, to be sure. She cries for the longest time if she sees him walk away from her. I always thought it was supposed to be this way with little girls, but it just wasn't with GraceAnne. She loves Daddy, but she prefers to hang out with Mom on most days. It's evened out a bit more since she was little, (because he's nicer than I am), but she's just not attached to him like Violet. I guess that works out nicely because then each of them gets a parent. We'll see how we throw the whole dynamic off in about 6 months.

Finally, here is the contraption Allan built after the trim was up. Maybe you can't tell, but the projector screen, (YAY! We actually have a screen instead of a sheet now!), is built into the crown moulding of that window. He hooked up the surround sound and we've been watching movies and playing Wii games for the past few days after it gets dark. A curtain for the front (to the left of the room) window will really help the viewing, but the projector is brighter than the picture suggests. It's been so great having some semblance of normal this past week or so. Things in our household have not been "normal" since we lived in WA state and Allan would tell you not even then because we lived in an apartment and he just couldn't stand it.
Of course, just as things start to settle down around here, they've got to get crazy again. Allan starts his residency on the 22nd of this month and we've just learned we'll make about half of what we've been making. Thank God for Dave Ramsey. We know how to live on less, we don't have any bills except the utilities and the mortgage, we have an emergency fund if things go worse than expected. We could definitely use prayers now, though.
I hope all is well with you and yours. We'll talk to you soon!